Sunday, 25 September 2016

Deeper into First Aid

Hi everyone,
Sunday evening, and I'm typing this with a glass of wine and trying to block out the noise of someone watching Major Crimes (really, how on earth does this dreck get made?).  As you know, the last few days have been heavily taken up with forms of first aid training.
I mentioned in the last post that I'd been on the Careflight Trauma Care workshop.  This was a little short of the full Advanced First Aid course, but invaluable for teaching about the more extreme types of injuries that one can find.  It took in how to treat crush injuries and severe burns, and even how to treat traumatic amputations.  I have the impression (couldn't get a confirmed answer) that some of the things they recommended - like use of tourniquets and pressure points to control bleeding - are still not approved techniques.  As such, SES members are probably not permitted to apply them in the course of our work.  On the other hand, I think it'll be useful for me to procure some of their recommended items for my own first aid bag.  Proper preparation for that sort of thing has been more and more on my mind as the acolytes of ISIS spread their mayhem around the world.  I doubt I have any great aptitude for inflicting injuries, even in defence of myself or others.  I hope to reach a point where I can do something about the resulting damage though.

The last two days (that is, this weekend) I've been up at Wangaratta on an SES-sponsored course in mental health first aid.  That is, how to provide initial care for someone suffering depression, anxiety, psychosis or substance-abuse disorders.  It covered the things you really need - how to start the conversation with someone who is in distress, how to point them in the right direction and be sure they get there, and how to deal with someone at risk of injuring themselves without putting yourself in danger.  Sadly, mental problems being lived out in the public street are becoming more common, not least because of the rise of drugs like Ice.
I should add that Wangaratta has one other big advantage: it's built on flat ground, so it was ideal country to start today off with a run.  I find that they're critical on these weekends, because one of the side-effects of a course run at a hotel is that they're usually pretty well catered and you inevitably eat far too much!  This early start (on top of quite a few other early starts and late nights) is one reason I'm really looking forward to bed tonight.

I saw a good quote recently about this sort of thing on Instagram from student nurse Allie Pendzich: You do not study to pass the exam, you study to prepare for the day YOU are the only thing between a patient and the grave

I'm as guilty of badge-hunting as anyone.  I don't think you can do emergency work as a volunteer without taking a strong pride in adding to your skills and competencies.  This is healthy and it keeps us keen.  But sometimes we have to remind ourselves that what we do isn't a hobby or simply a chance to make friends.  We train and keep our skills sharp because one day our training will be all that stands between the Grim Reaper and a human being.

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